News Corporation admitted in 2009 to hacking U.S. rival’s website
Former News International chairman previously claimed only one journalist involved in phone hacking.
News Corporation admitted at a trial in 2009 that computers at its U.S. marketing division, News America Marketing, hacked into the secure website of a rival U.S.-based company 11 times, according to Bloomberg.
The FBI is currently investigating allegations that News Corp, the parent company of Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, attempted to bribe police and hack into the cell phones of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) wrote Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller to highlight the hacking allegation made by Floorgraphics Inc.
Floorgraphics claimed in a lawsuit that News America Marketing stole business from the company by hacking into Floorgraphics website between October 2003 to January 2004. The company agreed to dismiss the case after receiving a $29.5 million payment from News America Marketing.
A lawyer for News America Marketing admitted during that trial that someone hacked into Floorgraphics website “through a firewall at News America Marketing headquarters,” but that the company did not know who did it.
“As the Department of Justice and FBI examine the recent hacking allegations involving News Corp. and its subsidiaries more closely, I wanted to make sure that you were fully aware of the case of Floorgraphics and News America, as it may be relevant to your current investigation,” Lautenberg wrote (PDF).
News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch became embroiled in a phone hacking scandal thanks to his U.K. newspaper News of the World, which closed down after an investigation revealed it had participated in the phone hacking of celebrities, British politicians, the families of terrorist attack victims, dead soldiers and others.
Murdoch told the U.K. parliament on Tuesday that he had “seen no evidence” that his publications tried to hack into cell phones in the U.S.
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) called on the members of the Dow Jones and Company Special Committee to ensure that no News Corporation executives in the U.S. were involved in the phone hacking scandal.
Dow Jones is also owned by News Corp.
In particular, they noted that former News International Chairman Leslie Hinton told a parliamentary committee in 2007 and 2009 that he had knowledge of payments to a private investigator and a reporter after they were convicted of illegal phone hacking.
He claimed that News International carried out a full investigation and that only one of the company’s journalists was involved.
Hinton was hired as publisher of the Wall Street Journal and chief executive officer of News Corporation in December 2007 and retired two days ago.
“As you know, allegations of illegal phone hacking and bribery in the United Kingdom at properties owned by News Corporation, a United States-based company, have outraged people around the world,” Boxer and Rockefeller wrote in a letter to the Special Committee.
“The American people need to be reassured that this kind of misconduct has not occurred in the United States and that senior executives at News Corporation properties in our country were not aware of or complicit in any wrongdoing.”